cleaning up the kitchen Part 2

Chemicals Concerns: phthalates, BPA/BPS, DEHP, petroleum-based products

So many foods are sold in reusable plastic packaging, (yogurt, cold cuts, peanut butter), so green-minded and frugal folks may save plastics for food storage. The problem with plastics (whether reused or bought specifically for dishes and storage) is that chemicals in plastics are known endocrine disruptors. Never use plastic (even if it’s labeled heat-safe or BPA-free) for microwaving items, as heat can release the chemicals from plastic into food. Avoid putting hot food into plastic containers for storage. Plastic wrap is petroleum-based, includes phthalates, gets thrown away almost immediately, and is not recyclable, so avoid that wherever possible.

Better Options: Use heat-resistant glass or ceramic storage containers and dishes for storage and heating food. Use a plate turned upside down over a bowl instead of plastic wrap, or consider a natural alternative like beeswax wrap.

Labels to Look for: Look at the recycling number on the bottom of plastics—the highest-quality (and least likely to leach the worst chemicals) are plastics are 2, 4, and 5. Glass is still better whenever you can use it. Stainless steel works for storing food, too.


Chemicals Concerns: PFCs, PFOA

The health problems associated with nonstick cookware make it not worth the time you might save scrubbing. The nonstick coating Teflon has been associated with “Teflon flu,” an ailment that comes from breathing the fumes of an overheated nonstick pan (and the same chemicals you breathe go into your food). Teflon was made with a chemical called PFOA until that chemical was found to be dangerous (in 2013), and it was replaced with PFCs, which have not been proven to be safer.

Better Options: Look for cast iron, stainless steel, carbon steel, heat-safe glass, and ceramic-coated cookware. Crock pots and instant pressure cookers are also safe as they’re typically ceramic or stainless steel. Anondized aluminum is sometimes considered a safe alternative to nonstick Teflon pans, but its treatment may scratch off over time, making it a lesser option than the others above. Follow safety instructions for heat-safe glass especially, which can have bad reactions to quick temperature changes. 

Labels to Look for: There aren’t labels specifically for nontoxic cookware, so follow the “better options” advice above.

*shared from Green America